Building on a Solid Foundation
As we work on making our new house our home, there are tons of projects to keep us frustrated, tired and busy. I'm someone who just wants to decorate, ignoring the holes in the walls, the broken screens and swollen door jambs. I'm excited by new ideas and progress, but before we can do anything new, we've gotta undo what's been done before.
With this house, we've got a strong foundation and good bones. It's solid and there's no need (Thank God!) to mess with anything structural. Same with the work we're doing with young people here. They have a strong foundation, one which is solid and was laid by parents and Sunday school teachers for years before we showed up on the scene. There's no need to tear down anything structural. The structure of a home isn't typically what needs work, if it's been made well. It's the finishing; the decor and personal touches that change over time.
Progressive younger Christians sometimes think that we need to burn it all down and start from scratch. While that may be true in instances of church abuse, what's more often true is the house just needs a facelift; a few patches, a coat of paint, some trinkets and art that are meaningful to a new generation.
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
I think where people most often trip-up is by confusing an update with an overhaul. The older generation anxiously envisions the new one with a wrecking ball and clipboard. The younger generation misses the goldmine they've inherited by focusing on shag carpet and vinyl floors. The promise that children will "not turn from it" isn't talking about the outer trappings of religious observance, but the solid foundation of who they are in Christ and who He is to them. That's the good bones that will stand even when layers of tradition and culture are stripped away.
So, be encouraged older brothers and sisters! Your intimate knowledge of this old house is needed and useful! You know the hacks and tips for keeping this thing standing! We, the younger generation, and those behind us, need you to welcome us in and give us space to make ourselves at home. Maybe if we roll up our sleeves together we can create an atmosphere that reflects to us both, building new things on a solid foundation.